eLearning Tools

Information is constantly being updated

 

Following the dispatch CP/01/2020, and considering the constraints, for teachers, researchers and students resulting from the impossibility of conducting classes in person, the Education Board (CP) of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon considers it necessary to issue guidelines that allow the academic community to adapt to current contingencies.

This page suggests a set of strategies, which can be adopted by teachers in order to reduce the pedagogical impact to a minimum.

 

Encouraging autonomous study

Placing on the teaching support platform (PAD) used in the Curriculum Unit (Fénix or Moodle) resources available online such as book chapters, wikipedia pages, reference institutions' pages, videos, etc. available on the Internet and with the content to be transmitted. The slides that teachers would use to support the face-to-face lessons also fit into this measure. Do not forget to adjust the amount of information to the time of study, clearly separating for the students the essential resources from the complementary ones.

 

Encouraging mechanisms for self-assessment of knowledge

Moodle has a range of activities that can be used to allow students to independently check whether or not they have acquired the knowledge, and to a limited extent replace the interactivity that exists in questions posed by teachers during a face-to-face lesson. Quizzes, Polls and Testing are all Moodle activities that allow students to collect their answers and give an indication to students of the level of knowledge they have acquired, as the teacher can associate with each right or wrong answer an explanation that is only viewed after the student has answered. Use as an assessment tool is optional. Each of these activities can be programmed so that the students perform it a variable number of times. The teacher can access the right and wrong response rates given by the students, allowing a diagnosis about the learning level of the class. The definition pages of these activities have links where you can get help on how to set them up.

Kahoot! can also be used in this context. It allows you to aggregate sets of multiple choice questions with 4 options. Kahoots are answered on the students' mobile phone or laptop. Although it is a tool more associated with face-to-face lessons (with students in the same classroom competing to get the most right answers), a kahoot can also be shared by a link so that each student can do it whenever and as often as they want.

Moodle's homework submission tool can be used for students to submit homework, whether or not they have a formal evaluation.

 

Encouraging deferred discussion between students with and without teacher's participation

Wikis, forums and Moodle chat rooms can be used to collect contributions from students on the subject and support their learning. The teacher can create pages in wikis and encourage students to fill in their content. Forums have some options that are not often used and that allow for example the teacher to ask a question and for each student to only see the answer from their peers after they have responded. In its classic use, the forum can function as a room for questions or knowledge sharing among students and between students and teachers with students asking questions that can be answered by both colleagues and teachers. In all cases, the sending of e-mails associated with each post is optional.

 

Preparing multimedia content for deferred viewing

Teachers will be able to prepare multimedia content for viewing by students at the time they consider it appropriate. This model works well in combination with some of the above, such as forums, self-evaluation mechanisms and autonomous study.

Any video production tool can be used. This includes, for example, Windows Movie Maker, the recording of Powerpoint presentations or the Zoom video conferencing recording option. Powerpoint and Zoom allow effortless integration of two images: the camera showing the teacher, the other showing slides prepared for the lesson.

The production of these contents should preferably be carried out using the teacher's own resources. However, the IT Services Unit (DSI) has webcams that can be given to teachers during the period in which they are preparing the contents and returned immediately afterwards. The computers of the computer rooms are also available for the preparation of the contents.

For students to access them, content produced by these platforms must be uploaded to Moodle or OneDrive, the Office365 file sharing service. Using Office365 the file must be shared by link and the link copied to the teaching support platform (PAD) used by the teacher.

Among other alternatives, teachers may choose to submit their classes to public platforms (such as Youtube) or semi-private platforms such as Educast. Educast is a platform for educational purposes managed by FCCN and that requires the centralization of the contents in a point of contact in the Faculty of Sciences, which has not existed until now. We are currently developing efforts to create this contact point. Those interested should contact DSI expressing their interest but taking into account that this alternative may not be available in the coming days.

If the file is uploaded to Moodle, it may not be available for a maximum period that is currently set at 5 working days but may be reduced depending on the availability of Moodle resources. DSI has been instructed to delete these files after the time limit has expired without prior notice to teachers.

The agreement with Microsoft under Office365 gives all teachers unlimited space and it is therefore advisable to use this alternative. Unlimited space is only available if the Faculty of Sciences login (@fc.ul.pt) is used on the Office365 page.

 

Interactive Communication

Without using the video, teachers can use Moodle's "Chat" activity, scheduling hours of sessions to discuss with students the content presented in one of the previous alternatives. Skype or messaging tools (Snapchat, Messenger, etc.) can be used for the same purpose.

For interactive video communication, the most appropriate solution is to use the Colibri/Zoom tool (instructions at https://ciencias.ulisboa.pt/pt/videoconferencia). A good use of Zoom should complement the flow teacher→students with the mechanisms that Zoom provides and that allow students to participate. In particular, the possibility for the student to "raise their hand" to ask questions and the existence of a chat room for students to ask their questions without interrupting the lesson. Complementing this interactivity with other student participation tools (e.g. Kahoot!, see above) is also recommended.

Video conference sessions should preferably be conducted using the teacher's own resources. However, DSI has webcams that can be provided to teachers during the videoconference period provided they are returned immediately thereafter. Computers in the computer rooms are also available.

Zoom is currently experiencing scalability problems that may limit sessions to a maximum of 40m. This service is the responsibility of FCCN, which has indicated that it is working to solve the problem. Anyway, due to its characteristics it is not advisable to consider sessions longer than 40m for the classes, so the problem is trivially solved if an interruption (break) is made in it.

 

Other Alternatives and Permanent Support

The newly created Moodle “Formação à Distância” course will serve as a support point for teachers in this adaptation, using itself many of the mechanisms discussed above. At this time there is a forum where all questions and suggestions about other measures not considered in this document can be raised.